Analysis: The Israel Police's 'yes men'

Cohen's appointments show he is looking to create a top echelon made up mainly of officers who will not oppose his decisions.

david cohen 224.88 (photo credit: Israel Police)
david cohen 224.88
(photo credit: Israel Police)
With an already tarnished image, the Israel Police is not looking any better this week with the growing rift between Southern District chief Cmdr. Uri Bar-Lev and top cop Insp.-Gen. Dudi Cohen. Bar-Lev was passed over on Monday in Cohen's new round of senior appointments. Known for his trademark bald head and slight lisp, Bar-Lev received national attention in 2005 when he oversaw the disengagement from the Gaza Strip. His warm relations with settler leaders led the police out of a number of near clashes in Kfar Maimon, Sderot and Gush Katif. It was exactly this national attention that created the bad blood between Bar-Lev and the inspector-general. Cohen was head of the Southern District before Bar-Lev. He held the post for a little less than a year and was then replaced - several months before disengagement - by Bar-Lev, who stole the limelight from his predecessor. But disengagement wasn't his only success. Since then, Bar-Lev has succeeded in reducing crime in the South more than in any other police district in the country. Again, outshining his predecessor. As evidenced by Cohen's appointments he is looking to create a top echelon made up mainly of "yes men," officers who owe him their careers and will not oppose his decisions. The IDF is facing a similar problem in the General Staff, which Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi has yet to substantially change since taking over a year-and-a-half ago. Bar-Lev is the exact opposite of a yes man and is known within the force for his creative and out-of-the-box thinking. It was this type of thinking that brought a 50-percent drop in crime in the South and enabled him to establish Gidonim, the Jerusalem Police's undercover Arab unit.